Niagara Gazette

Local News

February 13, 2013

Tax break eyed for convicted felon in Lockport

Niagara Gazette — A company owned by a Newfane dentist who served federal prison time following a guilty plea in an insurance and tax fraud case is now in line to receive a tax break agreement through the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency. 

Geise Properties, LLC — a firm owned by Dr. Scott D. Geise, a dentist who was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison in 2010 for tax and health insurance fraud — has applied for a five-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement through the agency as part of a $200,000 effort to renovate Lockport's "Old City Hall." Geise is planning to turn the building, located at 2 Pine St. in Lockport, into a venue for tourist-friendly operations, including the Flight of Five Winery and Local Food Market whose owners have already leased space on the upper level of the building. 

NCIDA attorney Mark Gabriele said there's nothing in the statute governing agency activities or in any of the agency's own internal policies or procedures that would bar it from considering an application from a firm owned by an individual who has been convicted of a felony.

Gabriele indicated that he would expect board members to take into account all aspects of the project before deciding whether or not to accept the application from Geise's firm, as it would any other project. 

"Our board will take a look at everything in totality, including the project and the person submitting the application," Gabriele said. 

In July 2010, Geise was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison and three years probation in U.S. District Court after admitting to a Judge Richard J. Arcara that he made “poor decisions" by performing dental procedures that he knew were not covered by his clients' insurance companies before billing either Delta Dental, Blue Cross and Blue Shield or Aetna for the procedures under different names. Geise, who owned Newfane Family Dentistry in Newfane, faced a 65-count indictment on charges of theft from an employee benefit plan, false statements relating to health care matters and filing false income tax returns from 2002-05.

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